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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lawyer's call over

More post election damage for the Maori Party.

NZ Herald:
A criminal lawyer charged with smuggling an iPhone to a high-profile rapist and murderer visited the prison inmate 80 times in nine months before she was arrested.

Davina Valerie Murray, a Maori Party candidate in last year's general election, is facing two charges relating to her in-prison dealings with Liam James Reid.

Reid was sentenced to preventive detention in 2008 for raping and murdering deaf Christchurch woman Emma Agnew.
Murray, 38, was arrested and charged with smuggling an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter to Reid while he was at Mt Eden Prison in October.

She is also facing a second charge, laid last week, of having communication with Reid "that may prejudice the safe custody of a prisoner".

I heard Pita Sharples on the radio this morning giving her support.

She was No.6 on the Maori Party list at last year's general election, but note from her blurb:

[...] Editor The Inside Wire, with Tangible Media and Serco - magazine for inmates and their families.

So she is invloved in prisoner aid... going too far with it is what she is charged with. I guess as a lawyer who goes the extra mile for her clients she is going to be an excellent choice for any prisoner to have represent them.

But note the extraordinary timing here according to the NZ Herald:

October 7 Murray allegedly gives contraband to Liam Reid in Mt Eden Prison.

November 25 First appearance, granted interim name suppression.

Now they don't say when she was arrested/summoned, but the election was held on November 26th. Worst timing ever - a nightmare scenario for any political party: arrested candidate a month out when they can't do anything about the list and then being charged in open court the day before the election. Lucky for the suppression order.

These cases don't arise too often, and although it is not unusual for lawyers to do small favours where appropriate, smuggling phones is way beyond the pale. Reading between the lines of this story I infer a relationship of some sort may exist. There ought to be a reason for a lawyer to take the risk of doing what is alleged and that would be it.

She's fighting for her career and reputation as a lawyer so the Crown better have it's evidence in order:

But the Herald is still unable to publish most of the information about the police allegations against Murray.

Police allege Reid was searched before the visit in October and had no contraband on him. He was searched again after his meeting with Murray and the phone and cigarettes were found.

Murray denies giving the items to Reid.

Mr Hart said evidence included intercepted communications between Murray and Reid, which he believed were obtained illegaly.

So we have circumstantial evidence and a breach of the lawyer-client privilege just to start with. Nice.


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